Monday, December 2, 2013

Instilling Jeopardy in My Novels

In the TV quiz show Jeopardy, the stakes get doubled part way through the show and are raised again at the end in Final Jeopardy. For that last difficult question, the contestants can risk up to whatever they have won so far in the hope of correctly answering it and doubling what they've put at risk. Perhaps more important, the top money winner gets to return to compete for more prize money in the next game.
In my courtroom thriller, A QUESTION OF PROOF, the protagonist, Dan Lazar, a renowned criminal-defense lawyer, is divorced and badly misses his son. Moreover, burned-out and disillusioned by his success at winning acquittals for people he knows are guilty of horrendous crimes, he is ready to call it quits. He falls in love with Susan Boelter, the estranged wife of an autocratic newspaper publisher, who is seeking to take everything from her in divorce proceedings, including custody of their daughter. Susan's happiness and consequently Dan's as well are at risk. Suddenly, Peter is found dead, and Susan is charged with his murder, raising the stakes again for Susan and Dan. He yields to her entreaty that he defend her at the murder trial, an unorthodox and personally wrenching arrangement that puts more at risk for Dan. The stakes are raised even higher by Dan's urgent inner need to use his lawyering skill to save at least one person he can truly believe is innocent. In this case that person is also the woman he loves. But is she innocent or merely using him/  Events put his certainty in doubt.  Ultimately at stake is virtually everything Dan's considers worth living for.  The outcome turns on a question of proof.
STALKING THE SKY is my latest thriller to be published on Kindle and simultaneously in print on Amazon with new material and  new Introduction. Its protagonist Will Nye, the general counsel for America's leading airline, is feverishly seeking to uncover the identity of the saboteur who planted a bomb on one of the airline's 747s. To raise the stakes, one of the pilots who went down with the plane was his best friend, who saved his life in Vietnam. Nye's quest becomes an obsession. When he finally learns that yet a third airliner has been targeted and the woman he loves is one of that plane's flight attendants, the stakes--and the suspense--soar as high as the sky that plane is flying through.
Jeopardy is not just a game, it's at the heart of a thriller.

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